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Washoe Co. Commission to revise COVID reopening plan

COVID-19 update
COVID-19 update(AP Images)
Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 9:26 PM PDT|Updated: Apr. 22, 2021 at 1:06 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - UPDATE: Washoe County Commissioners will submit a new COVID-19 reopening plan after failing to get support from the Washoe County Health District, the City of Reno, and the Washoe County School District.

The Nevada COVID Task Force reviewed the plan Thursday as counties across the state prepare for the transition of mitigation control to the counties on May 1.

Commission Chair Bob Lucey acknowledged it’s ‘aggressive’ to open 100 percent with no social distancing on May 1.

Task Force Director Caleb Cage said he didn’t see an issue with the plan itself, but mentioned ‘administrative challenges.’

Lucey said Commissioners will present a revised version of the reopening plan ahead of the May 1 deadline.

ORIGINAL STORY: Washoe County Commission Chair Bob Lucey issued a statement Thursday after Washoe County’s district health officer said he does not endorse the plan Commissioners approved Tuesday as a roadmap to opening the community from COVID-19 restrictions.

Despite recommendations from health authorities, the plan approved by the county does not wait until June 1 to drop social distancing recommendations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The county recommends ending social distancing rules on May 1.

Health Officer Kevin Dick said Wednesday in a letter to the COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force that Washoe County has seen a trend towards more cases in recent days.

“The vaccination rate of 23.14% of the population that we have on April 20, 2021 and the rate of about 30% we expect to have on May 1, 2021 is not approaching a portion of the population with vaccination immunity, that will be essential for a reduction in the transmission of the disease,” Dick said in a letter to the state task force. “Therefore, it is essential that social distancing continue to be required in the County until a larger proportion of the population is vaccinated.”

By June 1, 50 percent or more of the Washoe County population could be vaccinated, Dick said.

“During the discussion, Commissioners expressed that people could make their own decisions about social distancing and the risks they would take,” Dick wrote. “Unfortunately, this is not an option for many in our population that must work to feed and house their families. Our schools do not operate in isolation from the rest of our community and will also be impacted if social distancing is dropped too quickly and disease transmission increases.”

Lucey is standing by their proposal, despite concerns from Dick.

In a response, Lucey said in part:

“We stand behind the plan because we know there is COVID fatigue in our community. People are going to return to life and the things they’ve missed in the last year whether we dictate mandates or not.

The County Commission has worked to balance the demands of parents, educators, and business owners to return to some semblance of normalcy with the imperative to protect the community from increasing rates of COVID-19 infections. We have advocated for the personal rights of citizens to act as they feel best for their families during this pandemic. The community has the opportunity to become vaccinated and tested if they choose. The community also has a choice on when and where they do their business.”

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